Valley restaurants starting 2022 with return to temporary closures, fewer hours

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Posted at 5:14 PM, Jan 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-14 12:50:41-05

PHOENIX — Omicron’s rapid spread is impacting staffing in just about every industry, including Valley restaurants and bars.

Maurice Morillo, co-owner of Sip Coffee & Beer, said his Old Town and Phoenix Locations ---like so many restaurants--have been dealing with staffing issues.

"Pretty hectic finding not just able bodies but different team members to pick of different shifts," he said.

Sip even had to close early a few days.

"Everyone is going through it," said Morillo.

Earth Plant Based Cuisine in Phoenix closed down for a week due to staffing shortages, according to its Facebook page.

Oregano's has temporarily closed two restaurants in Tempe and North Scottsdale as well.

And George and Dragon English Pub in downtown Phoenix also shut down for a few days because they didn't have enough people.

Morillo said what's more frustrating is how hard it is to find people to work.

"I'll call 20 resumes within a week or two weeks and one person will show up, one person will call back," he said.

Compound that with mounting supply chain issues.

"Large cups, paper cups have been a challenge. Certain beans. We've ended up with dust on the shelf instead of a bag of flour," said Echo Coffee owner Robert Rigolfi.

Rigolfi said they're doing the best they can, but he's noticed the frustrations on both sides of the counter.

"The circumstances of the last two years, it's not easy for anyone. At the end of the day, I think everyone is doing their best to just maintain our humanity and move forward," he said.

The good news is, restaurants and shops still seem to be busy. Owners just ask for your patience.

"It's not our team member's fault that if guest walks in and we don't have the kitchen open or we're running slow ticket times because there's just one person back there. So just bear with us," said Morillo.